ZIMBABWE remains underexplored in the diamond sector presenting opportunities to investors, Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidhakwa has said.
BY OUR STAFF
Speaking at the Zimbabwe Diamond conference in Harare last week, Chidhakwa said growth opportunities span the entire spectrum of the diamond value chain from exploration, mining, beneficiation, value addition and trading for domestic, exports and imports.
“Despite the diamond discoveries made, Zimbabwe still remains largely underexplored and therefore presents huge opportunities for new discoveries. As the state, we must know the value of these concessions. This requires knowledge of our geology and mineralisation our top priority. New technologies such as aeromagnetic, big data and cloud computing will be deployed to this end,” Chidhakwa said.
He said government will seek to develop robust mining activities which become the backbone of growth and development.
“In pursuance of this objective we are finalising discussion with companies for full integration from mining through cutting and polishing to jewellery manufacturing, product branding and international marketing and distribution. Companies were approved to start manufacturing and are expected to create a significant number of jobs,” Chidhakwa said.
He said government has given diamond cutters and polishers longer tenures and that they would have access to 10% of rough diamonds.
Chidhakwa said given the footprint of Marange Diamonds, about 10-15% of the diamonds were gems or near-gems to local cutters and polishers, presenting huge opportunities for investment in the sector.
Chidhakwa said other opportunities also existed in the setting up of independent diamond grading laboratories and jewellery manufacturing companies.
He said the mining sector was currently replete with antiquated plant and machinery utilising outdated and archaic technologies.
“It is incumbent upon us to revolutionise our mining sector by bringing new methods of mining to bear on our industry so as to improve efficiency and close the technology gap between us and other mining destinations. Investment is sought in upgrading this equipment,” Chidhakwa said.
He said government recently gazetted a statutory Instrument that rationalises the diamond cutting and polishing licensing system in such a manner that both government and the private companies benefit from the revenue of the business.